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Agriculture Appropriations Bill - 2017 Updates

Updates are related to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) & SNAP Education (SNAP-Ed) in the Farm Bill

Before you dive into these updates, understand these terms and background behind them. . .


Updates: 

12/11/2017

  • The American Enterprise Institute wrote a paper on the future of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in the Farm Bill. 
  • Did anyone notice that the cost of food went down?
  • See the pie chart that breaks down spending of the Farm Bill compared to other government programs. 
  • Proposed at the Federal level, this bill would amend the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 to provide for a standard medical expense deduction under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. 
  • The proposed Federal Food Sharing Act of 2017 would amend Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 to authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to make grants to carry out farm gleaning projects. 
  • The proposed College Student Hunger Act of 2017 would amend the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 to expand the eligibility of college students to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. 
  • The Federally proposed Pathways Out of Poverty Act of 2017 would strengthen and expand proven anti-poverty programs and initiatives. 
  • Filed for January 9, 2018, this Alabama bill would prohibit the Commissioner of the Department of Human Resources from requesting a waiver of federal work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents who are applicants or recipients of the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). That means, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participants would need to participate in minimum work requirements, provide documentation of engaging in work training, or participate in volunteer community service. This bill would provide limited exemptions from these work requirements. 
  • This Illinois bill would prohibit the Department of Human Services from seeking renewal or extending any federal waiver of the 3-month time limit or work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependent children who apply for or receive benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. 
  • This proposed bill would require the Department of Health Services (DHS) to establish and implement a pilot program to provide discounts to certain households that are eligible for FoodShare benefits or Federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program discounts on fresh produce and other healthy foods. DHS would administer the healthy eating incentive pilot programs and contract with an independent research entity to conduct a study of the program.
  • This proposed Wisconsin bill would require the Department of Health Services (DHS) to develop conduct a pilot program to use FoodShare benefits for healthy foods and beverages. Under the bill's pilot program, DHS must identify categories of or specific foods, food products, and beverages that do not have sufficient nutritional value and restrict the use of FoodShare benefits for those foods, food products, and beverages. 

11/15/2017

9/29/2017

8/21/2017

  • The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) released their SNAP Maps this week. It’s a new interactive data tool that shares the number of families utilizing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP) in different areas across the country. 
  • Sometimes national data does not breakdown like the locals see it. That’s why the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger created their own map with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Data for Pennsylvania. 
  • 7 fun facts for Farmers Market week. Here is one fact to peak your interest: Participants in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) redeemed more than $20 million in benefits buying food from local farmers in FY 2016. 
  •  A new bill adopted in California offers Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits to college students who are enrolled half-time and requires the Student Aid Commission to notify students of these potential benefits. 
  • It’s National Farmers Market week, so check all that federal nutrition programs, food incentive grants and the senior farmers market programs are doing across the nation by clicking on the links within this article.  
  • The US Department of Agriculture’s Secretary Purdue pledges over $16 million to encourage people on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits to purchase healthier
  • Large box stores will lose billions over the next couple years because of fewer people redeeming Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits
  • 2-year colleges and vo-tech school students suffer from being food insecure.  
  • In mid-July, the US Department of Agriculture’s Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the new leaders for the Food and Nutrition Services and Consumer Services branches. Find out more, here
  • The Senate Appropriations Committee has adopted its FY 2018 agriculture spending measure (S.1603). This bill maintians nutrition program funding at current levels and dismisses the Trump administration’s proposed cuts, including the proposal to eliminate the Farmers Market Nutrition Program. The House Appropriations Committee passed its agriculture spending bill in July. Find it here
  • A new bill would prohibit the Department of Human Services from applying for, accepting or renewing a waiver of federal work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents who are applicants or recipients of the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program established under section 5 of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 without prior approval of the General Assembly. 
  • Have you seen the food policy road map outlined by Philadelphia’s Food Policy Action Council? Here are some highlights:
    • Penn State Extension programs, Future Farmers of America and other agricultural programs, chefs and SNAP-Education school programs team together to teach Philadelphians about nutrition and the food system.
    • “ 44% of Philadelphia’s food pantries and soup kitchens cannot provide fresh produce, and only 11% of them offer nutrition or cooking classes”
    • “27% of Philadelphians who are eligible for SNAP are not enrolled”
  • The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) plays a huge role in rural areas

7/7/2017

  • SNAP-Ed professional development opportunity! A webinar called, “Systems Approaches for Healthy Communities” is a professional development program about implementing policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) interventions with educational strategies. This program will be available in October 2017. Until then, see this website for details. 
  • In Louisiana, this bill allows certain public assistance (i.e. government food assistance)  for former drug convicts. 
  • In Nevada, this bill prescribes how to calculate the 36-month time period for determining a person’s eligibility for benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
  • In New Jersey, this resolution urges the US Department of Agriculture to lower the eligibility threshold for federal nutrition programs.
  • On June 8th, the Agriculture’s subcommittee held a hearing called, “SNAP Technology and Modernization.”  It outlined issues with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program’s EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) system and associated stigma. Solutions included: privatizing technologies to increase the system’s efficiency and reduce the price or using mobile app. Learn more about this issue here.  
  • A tentative budget from the House drastically reduces funding for the Supplimental Nutrition Assistance Program
  • Food eTalk is a new online nutrition education eLearning program which features six- to ten-minute lessons, cooking videos, and other trainings. 
  • Center for Budget & Policy Priorities’ “Block Granting SNAP Would Abandon Decade-Long Federal Commitment to Reducing Hunger” 

6/10/2017

4/13/2017

3/17/2017

2/27/2017

1/26/2017

1/21/2017

1/2/2017